What We Ride – Madison Matthews – KONA Hei Hei

I’ve been riding this Hei Hei for the  past year. It’s a blast to ride on our local trails. I built it from the frameset up and hand picked each part. It’s my favorite bike for technical riding.

The Hei Hei has 120mm of rear suspension travel, and I chose to pair it with a 120mm Ohlins RXF36 fork up front. Normally, shorter travel bikes like this, have forks with smaller diameter stanchions, but the added stiffness of the heavy duty fork is nice to have on the more technical trails.

The RXF36 has an air spring that can be easily adjusted for more or less bottom out resistance, and although its damper has both high and low speed compression adjustments, setting up the fork is very intuitive and simple. I like the fork to have a more linear feel, and I normally run the compression and rebound all the way open.

I usually stiffen up the compression on the fork a few clicks for a little more confidence on steeper downhills or hopping logs. It can help prevent the front end from “diving” and making you feel like you’ll go over the handlebars.

The  wheels that I went with are a set of Industry Nine Enduro 315’s. The carbon rims are compliant and allow you to get away with slightly less pressure in the tires than most aluminum rims without the worry of getting a flat. I haven’t broken an aluminum spoke yet, but going with the 32 hole option means that if a spoke does break on a long backcountry ride, the wheel shouldn’t go out of true, and it will be safe to finish the ride.

I like to ride Maxxis tires, and I’ve been riding a Minion DHF up front and Aggressor on the rear (both 2.5″). Those are a great combination for the rocky soil that we have in this area.

This bike saw a few big rides this year and it has been reliable and fun to ride on pretty much any kind of trail.

If you want to discuss any type of cycling, bike engineering, or local rides, you can find me in the shop most days!

Madison Matthews

Cycle Engineer, Bike Enthusiast, and Guest Blogger